AI and Climate Change: The Promise, the Perils and Pillars for Action

Eirini Malliaraki
2 min readOct 27, 2020


I wrote a few words about AI and climate action for π˜‰π˜³π˜’π˜―π˜€π˜©, a new magazine written by and for people who dream of a sustainable and just internet. The first issue is curated by Michelle Thorne, Chris Adams and Laurence Bascle. Branch is kidly supported by EIT Climate KIC, Mozilla Foundation, Climate Action Tech, and the Green Web Foundation.

A global pandemic has shocked the world, leading to thousands of deaths, economic hardship and profound social disruption. While we worry about our immediate needs, we should remember that another crisis is looming: climate change. The lockdown made it clear that staying at home and slowing down the economy is far from enough to solve the climate crisis. We’re still emitting more than 80% as much CO2 as normal, despite having 17% fewer emissions compared to 2019 β€” which is one of the most significant drops in recent years (1). If we don’t act decisively now, the economic damage caused by climate change in the next two decades will likely be as bad as a COVID-sized pandemic every ten years (2).

Starting today, we need to accelerate our zero-carbon transition rapidly. This transition requires mitigation and adaptation measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience towards weather-related disasters. Despite vested interests, geopolitical competition and populist leaders, tremendous technological progress is being made towards tackling the climate crisis. In recent years, promising applications of artificial intelligence and data science have been developed to make sense of the vast amounts of data generated across sectors and better monitor Earth’s resources.

But several questions remain unanswered: to what extent can AI contribute to a net-zero economy? How quickly can this happen, given the urgency of the challenge? What is the net effect on the planet? And what can we do about this?

The full story is published here: